Buying a new car is exciting, joyful, maybe a bit scary, but if you have the funds and an interest in these four wheel metal beauties, an overall great experience. Doing research and comparing brands on Youtube, looking at shiny pictures of model versions you can’t afford, visiting ultra clean dealerships, pretending to be the Stig while test driving and secretly hoping that this time, your car is an Autobot and will turn into a Transformer. The joy of buying a new car, petrol heads and electric enthusiasts, we all love ‘new car day’. There is only one thing left to do….selling your old car. F*ck!

Selling a second-hand car is for most people a synonym for gangsters at your door, fake money, haggling, people not showing up and holding on to your keys during a test drive so you don’t get car jacked in broad daylight. Unless you love the hustle, selling an old car can cause a lot of stress. That’s why it’s so attractive to go to car buyers that export your vehicle. It’s easy, they hardly check the car, don’t care about it leaking more oil than a 300m cargo ship and offer cold hard cash. The only catch is that they often make an offer way below the market value, they put you under pressure and your car could soon be flagged in Lebanese mob activity (actually happened). It will be fast, easy money and you won’t have to deal with a lot of paperwork, very attractive for a lot of people. But do the comparison or ask any car expert, to get the best deal for your old car is still to sell it yourself. So, we (my wife and I) recently sold our car online. Even though garage owners told us it wasn’t an easy sell, because of the brand, the color and the mileage, we went through with it. Applied the tips below and sold it in just one day for the price we wanted for it. I’ll share with you how we did it and how the insights we apply in every form of communication, helped us in also smoothly selling our car and fighting off shady buyers.



People buy from people and preferably people they trust. Certainly, in a dodgy market as second hand cars. Building that trust is crucial in any form of communication and certainly when it comes to sales. It’s easier than ever to sell your car online, just flick some pictures and a price on the right platform and let the bidding war start. It’s that easy, but remember that your sales pitch doesn’t start at your front door or on the phone, it starts the moment you post your car offer online. There is a reason why big car manufactures spend so much time and money on photography, text and video. The better the car looks, the more professional your online experience, the more your brain will tell you it’s trustworthy, deserves your attention and is worth your money.

The same rule applies for second hand cars, even if you are not a professional car dealer, the first pictures, lines of text, price and feel of your car ad will determine the number of responses, the type of buyers (local dealers, export buyers, families,…) and the quality of the offers you will get.

When selling our car, we went out on a sunny day with our freshly cleaned car and spent half a day taking pictures of it. Different angles as the big brands do it, detail shots, ambiance shots, lights on and off and even of the small damages it had on the paint. You name it and we got a cool picture of it. No photoshop, showing the car as it is, but in a very nice environment with quality resolution. If you are now thinking, I can’t do that, we only used natural daylight and our smartphone. Big chance you also have both 😉 It will cost you 0 euro to take some nice pictures of your car.

We wrote a small text about the car, listing all features and highlighting the special ones that we knew would attract people. We mentioned all the maintenance it got over the years, things we recently replaced, etc. The main goal, was to earn trust and attention straight away, offering beautiful pictures, showing the car in the best possible angle and highlighting exactly what makes this car so special versus the 200 other similar ones online. It looks good, it feels good, it gives me a lot of information, so it must be trustworthy. Our car sales pitch started the moment we posted that ad. We checked the current market value of similar cars and went just under that price, making our offer immediately the best value for money offer on most car websites. No harm in losing a couple of euro’s if it means your car will fly of the shelf. Don’t be greedy, the longer a car, a house, a lamp sits on the shelf, the less likely it is to ever get off it. It will lose trust, because people will start to think, “What’s is wrong with it?”


Don’t be greedy, the longer a car, a house, a lamp sits on the shelf, the less likely it is to ever get off it.


We posted the ad and besides the automated replies from dealerships which are way too low, we received 6 to 7 concrete and solid offers within the first hour. Soon after we were already being pushed by several sites as a high valued listing. We didn’t pay, we didn’t do anything special, we just increased the level of trust to amplify the level of attention. We stood out in the clutter of similar cars, not because our car was so special, but because people trusted what they saw.

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Being trustworthy and getting a lot of legit offers, doesn’t mean some dodgy people aren’t going to show up. The trick is to get as few of them at your door. Holding them off via email or phone and if they do come, because they are genuinely interested, make sure you stay in control of the situation. Set a minimum price you want for yourself and that will be the ultimate line in negotiations. It is not your bottom-I-am-giving-it-away-price, it’s the number you actually want for it. Your listing price will always be higher, because people like to haggle and this gives you room without losing any money. In mailing and phoning with dodgy buyers, that price will be the price you give them as your minimum. That is the offer you already have, even if you have zero offers. That is the price they have to go over or there is no point in coming by the house. The moment they notice you respond firm and show them you are not pressured by time or money and you have a clear idea of what you want, they will just ignore you and move on. The moment they sense doubt, wiggle room, they will push to come over in person to pressure you even more. Set your ideal price in your mind and stick to it (remember, this is not your listing price). I know you would like to sell your car fast and want to get it over with, but don’t let that become a pressure point buyers can use to take over negotiations.

Now some buyers will genuinely be interested and even though they don’t want to offer you your price, they still want to come over and see if it could be worth what you are asking. Remember, dealers, no matter if they are legit or not, they also need to make a profit, so they will always offer less than a normal buyer. When they come over, it’s normal to be nervous. A stranger is coming to your home to look at your car and you know you will have to negotiate. If you love it, great, but most people don’t. Any negotiation can be stressful, because everybody fears making mistakes and walking out with the short end of the stick.

How do you prepare for visits like this? – By clearly telling yourself what price you want for it and how far you are willing to go. Listing possible offers you can make that will cost you nothing, but will be of value to the potential buyer (i.e. delivery at home, taking care of all the paperwork, extra winter tires,…) and distance yourself from certain emotions that might cloud your judgement or make you agree to things you later regret. Distance yourself from the person in front of you, the situation and the car. Approach this as purely business. In case of a normal buyer, positive emotion and a deep connection can on the other hand help in closing the deal, but let’s focus on the dodgy ones in this part. Then wear something comfortable, something that makes you feel relaxed, confident and strong. For me personally that is either a hoodie or a suit. In this case, a suit might be a bit too much, unless you are selling your old Aston Martin. It might sound odd, but in the middle of a tough conversation, high pressure or verbal attacks (remember, we are in the second-hand car business) it helps to be protected by clothes that feel like a force field. I feel so comfy in my hoodie, that words will bounce off me, even if I don’t feel entirely comfortable in the conversation. That confident, relaxed energy is felt by the other person and either keeps them relaxed or makes them very nervous, noticing they are not getting the upper hand. He will either walk away empty handed or agree to make you the offer you were aiming for. As expert negotiator Chris Voss says, “Never split the difference.” You either walk away the winner or there is no deal at all.


Distance yourself from certain emotions that might cloud your judgement or make you agree to things you later regret.


Now if you got this far in reading this blog and you never sold a car before, this all might sound really negative and quite a creepy industry to be in, but let me tell you, it is 😀



Luckily, when you created a beautiful and trustworthy listing, you will mostly get real, legit and friendly buyers that are just looking for a nice car and want to enjoy it as much as you did. By blocking the other ones or not being pressured to sell below your price on the spot. You will have more time to focus on the real potential buyers and prevent selling too soon. When we put our listing up, that same evening offers started pouring in. Out of all the offers, we only allowed 4 people to come over the next day, 2 dealers and 2 private buyers. With the dealers, we unfortunately had to apply lesson number two. With the private buyers, we sold it to the first one and had to cancel the appointment of the second couple. We got the price that we wanted for our car. You could argue that it was a better move to still have the other couple come over and try to have them bid an even higher price, but that is just greed talking and most buyers that know they are paying full price, will want to close the deal straight away and not be used for a bidding war.

You will notice that the quality of your online listing will already bring you higher biddings, which will make the final on-site sale easier. The biggest insight in that part of the car sales process is, like with any form of communication, listen. When you are eager to sell your car, maybe a bit nervous, you tend to talk too much, too fast. Again, wear something comfy, prepare yourself and listen. Let the buyer do most of the talking by asking easy questions (What are you looking for? What triggered your interest? What car do you drive now? Are you comparing it with something?). Answer his questions, but focus on making a connection and make sure you hear cues to what the buyer likes, dislikes, is looking for and even what the relationship is between for example father/daughter, husband/wife. Who is actually making the decision? The less you talk yourself, the more you will learn, the better answers you can give or points you can put in the spotlight.


Let the buyer do most of the talking by asking easy questions


Of course, buyers aren’t stupid and will often come prepared. Everybody wants the best car for the lowest price. They will downsize the car, address damages, mileage, small things that you didn’t even notice yourself, anything to have ammunition to get you to drop that price. If you did your preparation right, you will know your price, you will have a response to potential flaws and you won’t allow them to put you under pressure, because until the deal is done, it’s still your car and you decide who you sell it to, when and for what price. If not, their loss. This doesn’t mean you have to be cocky, but you do need to come across confident, like you have all the time in the world with buyers lining up and they can choose to seize the opportunity or miss out on it. The urgency of purchase needs to be felt on their side. And as I said before, if you can close a sweet deal, but the buyer still needs a small nudge in the right direction, do it with added value instead of a discount.


Driving your new car for the first time is bliss, knowing you paid a part of it with the money you got back from a good deal you brokered yourself for your previous car, makes the ride that much better. Maybe you love the car hustle, but in my experience, a lot of people (including myself) aren’t very fond off it. But with the right mindset, energy, preparation and behavior, the sale will go smooth, you will close a good deal and keep the sharks in check. So, when people tell you your car can’t be sold, just apply the above and it will be gone in a day for the price that you want.